Land Hosting for Responsible Solar Farms

Landowners and developers turn to GreenSpark Solar to create responsible solar farms. Partnering with local families and their communities, GreenSpark finds the best economical and environmentally beneficial opportunity for solar and farming to co-exist. The result? Solar farm land hosts can generate a stable, incremental revenue stream while benefiting their local community with clean solar energy.

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What is land hosting?

Land hosting allows a developer to use a portion of your owned land to build a solar array in exchange for monthly rent per acre – just like if you were renting a room in your home. Typical land hosting structures include:

– A landowner hosts the solar array in exchange for rent per acre per year.

– An owner/financier of the solar project pays for the project and reaps any tax benefits.

– A land developer designs and engineers the solar farm, procures the equipment, and completes project construction.

– A solar energy customer or “off-taker,” commonly a business, municipality, or institution, benefits from the energy produced.

Benefits of Hosting a Solar Farm

We believe that with good design and management, agriculture and energy production can co-locate on the same property in ways that benefit both the community and a farming operation. As a solar farm host, you can:

Typical Land Host Structures with GreenSpark

Land lease structures offer the opportunity to partner with a local, independent company and Certified B Corp while hosting clean, locally-generated solar to benefit your community. Here’s a look at the typical land lease structures and inclusions for a solar farm.

*Price per acre will vary depending on the cost of interconnection, project size, property taxes, and permitting requirements.

Solar Farm Revenue Per Acre

We work with the land host and municipality partners to identify and prioritize solar development within marginal or less productive farmland. This allows solar farm land hosts to work within their town’s guidelines while adding lucrative yields per acre on land that wouldn’t otherwise produce. 

When you compare what you could earn per acre of solar energy to an acre of corn, soy, or hay, it’s easy to see how the incremental revenue starts to stack up.

*1) GreenSpark Solar minimum solar farm lease payment 2) USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2023 State Agriculture Overview, New York

Land Requirements for Solar Farms

When GreenSpark evaluates land for solar farm development, we assess viability based on the following requirements:

Why Go with GreenSpark for your Solar Farm?

It’s our mission to accelerate the deployment of community solar projects while strengthening farm viability and safeguarding land well-suited for farming. As an independently owned, local solar company, we’re committed to supporting our community by creating fiercely local, cost-effective, clean energy options.

Industry-Best Pricing on Quality Equipment

GreenSpark can provide industry-best pricing on quality equipment for our customers as a member-owner of the Amicus Solar Cooperative – a purchasing cooperative of over 70 small-to-mid-size values-driven solar companies across North America, 

A Team that Cares About Your Community and The Environment

GreenSpark Solar achieved Certified B Corp status in 2015 to align with its values of being committed to a triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. This means you’re working with a team equally dedicated to supporting the goals of our partners, our customers, and their communities, while making a difference in our environment.

Trusted NYSERDA Gold Quality Installer

GreenSpark is one of just seven, out of 321, to achieve the NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) Gold Quality Solar Installer status in New York State. This badge assures GreenSpark customers that they are working with an externally vetted, trustworthy, and quality installer.


Here for You Every Step of the Way

Our expert, local team has over 22 years of experience in the solar industry and is here for you every step, from initial consultation to permitting and even after construction is completed. We ensure a streamlined communication process and that we’re always accessible.

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A Case Study: The Schreiber Family

GreenSpark partnered with the Schreiber family for this 2.2 MW solar array in Ontario, NY. The stakeholders involved included:

– The farmland owner (Schreiber family).

– The project owner (Home Leasing).

– The off-taker (also Home Leasing in this circumstance).

– The developer (GreenSpark Solar).

Now, the Schreiber family benefits from additional income from their farmland, and the Ontario community benefits from clean, affordable solar power.

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The Truth About Solar Farms: FAQs

First, a solar farm developer (which in most cases is a business, municipality, or an institution) pays for the cost to develop the solar farm. The land owner incurs no cost to develop their property.

The cost to build a solar farm depends on several factors, including the number of acres on the land, how much energy you want the solar farm to produce, and other unique details about the land that could affect permits or installation. GreenSpark Solar has an expert team that works closely with the developer and landowner to provide an estimate based on what’s needed for the project.

GreenSpark is the operations and maintenance partner for the lifetime of any solar project we develop, so no matter what relationship you have with the solar farm, you won’t have to worry about handling any ongoing oversight or maintenance of your solar farm.

The terms of most lease agreements involve the developer removing all equipment at the end of the contract. Decommissioning a solar project includes replacing topsoil that may have been removed so that the land can return to being farmed. The project owner pays for the decommissioning of a project, and the local permitting authority typically requires the security of this process before the project is even built.

Solar farms take about 2-3 years to complete from the start of the project; however, lease payments typically begin as soon as substantial construction begins, which usually happens at about the 18-month mark. Additionally, many lease contracts include a bonus payment at signing, depending on contract negotiations.

In any case, it’s important to initiate the process as soon as possible. Municipal substations have limited capacity, and as such, it’s essential to secure your spot before another land host or developer does.

Solar farms have positive environmental impacts. They temporarily remove land from agricultural use but allow the soil to rest and replenish during the solar farm’s 20+ year lifespan, improving soil quality and biodiversity. Solar panels are raised above the ground, leaving space for plant growth, wildlife, or other agricultural activities. During permitting, developers ensure minimal impact on habitats and wildlife, avoiding sensitive areas like wetlands.

Solar developers like GreenSpark Solar also collaborate with communities to address specific environmental concerns, often adding trees or vegetative screens to the solar farm design to minimize visual impact.

About GreenSpark

GreenSpark Solar is a fully independent certified Benefit corporation with a mission to provide diverse renewable energy solutions for homeowners, business owners, community partners, and more.

GreenSpark is a proud member-owner of the Amicus Solar Cooperative.

Amicus is a group of over 50 small to medium independently-owned solar companies who formed the first 100% member-owned solar purchasing cooperative in North America. Together, our values-driven companies are able to provide industry-best pricing on quality equipment for our customers. The Amicus Solar Cooperative is a Certified B-Corp and Public Benefit Corporation.

GreenSpark Solar achieved status as a Certified B Corp in 2015.

The B Corp philosophy, to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems, aligns perfectly with the company’s vision. We are proud to be a part of a growing community of more than 4,000 companies across 150 industries with one unifying goal: redefining success in business.

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